Contrary to popular belief, leave them alone and damaged ecosystems will bounce back much more rapidly than believed

Contrary to popular belief, leave them alone and damaged ecosystems will bounce back much more rapidly than believed

Many studies on various aspects of the global environment provide evidence that humankind is inflicting significant damage to the ecosystems that support human livelihoods. Many such studies also predict that ecosystems will take centuries to recover from damages, if they recover at all.  Accordingly, there is concern that a legacy of irreparable damage is being passed along to future generations.
 
To test this assertion, researchers tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of recovery times compiled from 240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. The results showed that most ecosystems globally can, given appropriate human intent, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries. 
 

The study can be found at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005653 .

 An interesting book on the same topic that argues for a similar conclusion is reviewed at http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14340926.